"Shrek Forever After," the fourth and purportedly
final chapter in the most successful animated film series of all time,
That's 41 percent less than the opening weekend grosses of "Shrek the Third," which also had a mid-May release date back in 2007. The actual number of people who saw the new film from DreamWorks Animation tumbled by more than half from its predecessor, when ticket-price inflation and 3-D surcharges are taken into account.
"Shrek" wasn't the only disappointment this weekend
as "MacGruber," based on the "Saturday Night Live" skit parodying 1980s
television series "MacGyver," posted the worst opening —
While bigger than most animated features, the launch
of "Shrek Forever After" was below even the most conservative estimates
going into the weekend, based on pre-release surveys. It wasn't
immediately clear what led to the softer-than-expected start for the
picture, which once again featured the voices of
Possibilities include audience fatigue with sequels and with fast-rising ticket prices, particularly for 3-D pictures.
Those who saw "Shrek Forever After" gave it an average grade of A, according to market research company CinemaScore.
But after its weak start, "Forever After" has a tough climb just to reach the
Internationally, the story may be different.
Although it won't open in most foreign markets until late June and
July, after soccer's World Cup, the new "Shrek" movie launched in
"This was on the low end for a 'Shrek' film," DreamWorks Animation worldwide marketing chief Anne Globe said of the domestic start. "But we're very optimistic that ('Forever After' is) on its way to becoming a worldwide hit."
"MacGruber," meanwhile, set a new low in the undistinguished commercial history of movies based on "Saturday Night Live" skits. Even "The Blues Brothers" had a bigger opening in 1980, when ticket prices were a fraction of what they are today.
Financed by Relativity Media through its Rogue Pictures label for less than
"We wanted to do more, but the production costs were minimal and we took a shot," said Relativity marketing President
"Robin Hood" didn't fall off too quickly the weekend
after its tepid start, as ticket sales for the big-budget adventure
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